How To Gauge Emotional Intelligence

Over the past few years, emotional intelligence (or EQ for short) has become one of the most popular leadership theories in academia and workplace settings. With all the talk about its importance, how to improve it, and what companies can do to promote it among their employees, there seems to be little consensus on exactly what makes up your overall EQ.

This article will go into greater detail on some of the factors that make up individual levels of emotion regulation, and how they relate to each other. But first, let’s take a look at the three main components of emotional intelligence as defined by Daniel Goleman in his best seller “Emotional Intelligence – Why It Can Make A Difference In Your Life”.

1.) Self-Regulation

2.) Understanding Others

3.) Acceptance of Oneself

Self-regulation refers to our ability to control our own actions, thoughts, and emotions we have while interacting with others. This includes being able to inhibit reactions to potentially negative or harmful situations, and being able to regulate your anger.

Understanding others involves being aware of the needs and feelings of people around you, and predicting their behavior. It also means knowing when someone is trying to put you in a good mood, and supporting them until they feel more relaxed.

Accepting yourself refers to having an adequate sense of self-confidence, and recognizing strengths and weaknesses of your performance.

Have patience

how to gauge emotional intelligence

As mentioned earlier, emotional intelligence is like IQ for emotions. Just because you’re not able to identify what someone else is feeling does not mean that your own feelings are absent or poor. It may be that you don’t know how they’ve learned to manage their emotions, or you might need to look at it from their perspective before being able to recognize yours.

Just because someone seems upset doesn’t mean that they are. They could just be having a bad day and you didn’t happen to come across an emotion they had already mastered.

By practicing acceptance and understanding of others’ emotions, you will learn when it is time to intervene and help them feel better.

You can also watch for warning signs such as when someone seems angry but acts more calm, or when someone complains about something but looks happy and relaxed.

Experts agree that there are several good tests to determine if someone has high levels of emotional intelligence. Some of these test include: watching a movie with other people, knowing what jokes are funny to those around you, and whether someone seems happier than his or her surroundings.

Make eye contact

how to gauge emotional intelligence

Making eye contact is one of the first signs that someone has high emotional intelligence. It can be tricky at times because some people are just not good with it, but there’s an easy way to determine if this is you.

If you feel uncomfortable when you make direct eye contact with another person, then they likely have low EI. Try putting yourself in their place and see if that makes you feel more relaxed.

A lot of people struggle making eye contact due to social anxiety or fear of being judged. Once you realize what factors influence how frequently you make eye contact, you can work on improving your level of EI.

Making direct eye contact should not be difficult for most people. Even if you do not like doing so, try looking into the eyes of a friend or family member once to strengthen your self-awareness.

Be honest with your peers

As discussed earlier, being aware of how others perceive you is an important part in knowing what types of behaviors are motivated by emotional intelligence or not.

But it’s also important to be able to recognize when those around you are acting emotionally.

By this we mean that you have to be able to tell if someone is behaving with empathy or if they are using their emotions as a tool to manipulate others.

If there’s ever a time to be clear about something, it’s when another person seems to be trying to draw out their own emotions for personal gain.

This could be through saying kind things to make them feel good about themselves, asking too many questions to see how much they want to talk about their past mistakes, or simply giving them enough praise so that they feel obligated to keep talking.

If you notice these signs, it may be time to look at your own levels of emotional intelligence.

Listen to others closely

how to gauge emotional intelligence

A lot of people think that talking about yourself is narcissistic, but listening to other people is actually a good way to measure your emotional intelligence.

By paying attention to what other people are saying and how they are speaking, you can get some insights into their emotions and whether they’re happy or sad, stressed or relaxed.

This also helps you determine if someone else is a likeable person or not. If you notice that they seem down, you can try to cheer them up by agreeing with something they said or asking about their day.

You could even talk about yourself or ask them about themselves, but only if they invite you to do so first.

It’s important to remember that just because two people don’t look or sound like they’re in a good mood doesn’t mean that one or both of them aren’t feeling strong emotions.

Running your own thoughts and feelings aside, you can help them work through theirs will take more than just being able to read other people’s expressions.

Beta-level thinking will probably not suffice when they’re trying hard to be passionate about something.

Do not be egotistical

how to gauge emotional intelligence

Many people have a misconception about emotional intelligence. They think that being emotionally intelligent means being very good at telling stories with lots of emotion or showing how much passion they have for something.

This is definitely a part of it, but it is only one side of the coin. The other side is using your emotions to help others feel better after a difficult conversation or challenge, or to motivate them when they need a push.

Using our own experiences to understand someone else’s situation can help us relate and connect more effectively.

Emotions are powerful tools, and knowing what buttons to press and when is important in life. Being able to control your emotions is an essential skill if you want to succeed.

Be humble

how to gauge emotional intelligence

It’s impossible to truly understand someone else’s emotional intelligence unless you genuinely want to learn it. People with high EQ are not constantly bragging about how smart they are or using their IQ as proof of their self-worth.

They don’t feel the need to put up a front that they aren’t very sensitive or intelligent. Instead, they are more likely to acknowledge their weaknesses openly instead of hiding them from others.

When we lose faith in ourselves, we subconsciously project those lost feelings onto other people. This makes it hard for them to trust us or be completely honest with us because they fear we will break down too.

So try being less defensive about your limitations and strengths and see if that helps others relate to you more. You’ll also probably notice yourself feeling happier overall!

Be skeptical

Everyone has different levels of empathy depending on what kind of person they are and what situation they are in. Some people are far more intuitive than analytical when it comes to understanding emotions, which is okay!

That doesn’t make them any less intelligent, though. So don’t assume everyone has the same level of EQ just because they seem like they do.

Ask questions and get direct answers so you can determine whether they really have good EQ or if they’re just acting like they do.

Learn to laugh

how to gauge emotional intelligence

A lot of people consider laughter one of the main ways that emotional intelligence is shown. Laughter not only makes you feel good, it can also help make others feel better.

Studies show that being able to put yourself in other’s shoes helps you understand them more. When you are able to identify with something, you relate to it more clearly. This understanding comes from having empathy or “the ability to recognize and be influenced by another person's emotions.”1

One way to learn how to empathize is to simply try to put yourself in someone else’s position for a while. For example, if your friend just told you his/her life was a total mess, see what you could do to give him/her some encouragement. Or if her/his roommate just moved out, offer to let their friends know so they don’t worry about that.

Another way to hone your empathy is to pay attention to the way different cultures manage emotion. Different cultures have different norms that regulate how much anger people should contain, for instance. You can use those as examples to apply to your own culture.

Be optimistic

how to gauge emotional intelligence

Even if you never feel that your emotional intelligence is totally in control, be positive about what you can do. Believe in yourself and others will too.

Many people have strong emotions and still are able to function well because they believe in themselves and their abilities.

You may not agree with how someone else feels or what they say, but believing in yourself means being willing to acknowledge those feelings and thoughts and moving forward from there.

That’s an important part of developing your emotional intelligence.

By having that ability to move past emotion and focus on more rational thinking, you’ll find it easier to regulate your own emotions.

And remember, even if you don’t think you have much EQ, trying to learn some of these skills could help you deal better with other people.

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